Sumter United Ministries

Every marriage seems to have two types of people: the planner and someone who is content to know enough details to pack.

I am the travel planner in my family, specifically family vacations. I enjoy setting dates and details and having a new experience to look forward to. It amazes me when I think about how easily we all expect our lives to follow the schedule we create.

No wonder the apostle Santiago warned us to always follow our plans and thoughts with “if God wants”. Our plans can be derailed in a fleeting moment.

A client visited Crisis Relief Ministry this week with such a story. She is a single mother with a teenager at home, living in a rural part of the county. She worked and tried to make ends meet creatively, bragging about being thrifty and resourceful to stretch her income.

A few weeks ago, while she was driving with her daughter and her dog in the car, she was hit by a drunk driver at high speed.

The SUM volunteer who did the interview saw the photos of the damage. He told me, “All I can say is that the car was completely destroyed. She is blessed to be alive.”

There are layers of suffering in their lives and worries about money and how to pay the bills. While the insurance is being processed, you have had to rent a car when you needed to run errands. It has caused an unexpected financial burden. She has incredible injuries in rehab, and her daughter has also been in chronic pain since the accident.

The accident has also meant the end of regular income. She is a self-employer and there are no benefits to cover her absence from work.

This customer heats his house with electricity. He had one last notice that threatened to shut her down because she had been out of work for weeks. Sumter United Ministries was able to pay for his final notice and provide him with temporary peace of mind. She felt encouraged and her hope was renewed. A donation to the Fireside Fund will continue to provide opportunities like these to encourage neighbors in need who live right next door. We may not always know if our plans will align with God’s will, but we can make sure that our compassion does. Thanks!

– Kevin Howell is the director of Crisis Relief Ministry at Sumter United Ministries.


Every winter since 1969, The Sumter Item has held a fundraiser to collect money from its readers to be donated in its entirety to Sumter United Ministries.

The faith-based non-profit organization provides emergency and life rebuilding services ranging from food, shelter and clothing to paying final notice bills, access to educational opportunities and a medical clinic.

The Sumter Item recognizes and appreciates every ministry its staff and volunteers lead, but the Fireside Fund was created to focus on one area that becomes critical for the next few months: heat.

Every penny donated will directly help the people who live in Sumter by preventing heating services from being turned off, allowing access to propane or other sources of heating, and when sufficient funds are available and the need is there, financing affordable living arrangements. long term to make homes. more efficient.


Each year, The Item’s leadership team selects a person who has recently passed away to whom the year’s campaign will be dedicated. The honoree is someone who has made a positive impact in the community, whether through service, philanthropy or business leadership.

Abe Stern checked all those boxes.

He was Sumter’s only Holocaust survivor and ran a successful shoe store, Jack’s Department Store, for more than 60 years, where he created a space for students to earn money and get professional mentoring.

Despite his traumatic past in World War II, being sent to a concentration camp and arriving in the United States with $30 in his pocket, he always displayed a positive attitude and love for life and Sumter.

He served in the US Air Force at Shaw Air Force Base and became a philanthropic and community supporter of Temple Sinai, Sumter’s only synagogue.

New donations starting January 17: Monica Gober, $100; The Walter LeNoir Family Christmas, in memory of Leilah and Walter LeNoir and Raymond R. Cook Jr., $625; Roosevelt and Naomi Swinton, in honor of Leroy Fleming, $50; Sumter County Master Gardeners Association, $500; Linda G. Day, $100; Thomas Seavert, $50; East Pearl Properties LLC, $400; and Maureen Maclin, in memory of James (Jim) Maclin, $100.